Letting Go on Valentine’s Day and Other Special Days

I never expected waking up grumpy on Valentines’ Day 2015 would turn into a lesson on letting go.

It is a day filled with love and happiness. Which is all the more reason I felt completely guilty for waking up yesterday morning irritated and continued my day not feeling as loving as I should…on the day dedicated to love.

I am surrounded by love. I have a loving and supportive family, including the best father in the world! A husband I fell in love with at 16 and over 21 years have truly learned what it means to love and be loved unconditionally. The sweetest 6-year old who  makes me various loving notes everyday, not just February 14.

Valentine's Day, lovewell-livewell.comI mean, seriously one of my Valentine’s Day notes, “Thank you for all of the love!” What a sweetheart and a mother’s dream to be thanked for loving her kids!

I am happy and healthy and extremely fortunate for all that we have. I couldn’t ask for anything more, but as much as I reminded myself of this all day, I couldn’t shake the feeling.

Until I got on Facebook (which, by the way, can be a risky move if you are not feeling loving), and saw this post…

To all the folks raising kids alone on this Valentines Day– you are loved, you are appreciated, you are strong, you are admired today & EVERY day. Keep up the good fight!! Hugs from me!

In her comments was,

Been there, did it & this day was always disappointing, lonely, among many other things. I will never forget!! Try to lift people up– always comes back to you!”

It immediately hit me. Although our circumstances were not the same, some of the feelings invoked by the holiday were.

I’m not sure when it started, but looking back there was clearly a pattern for me on holidays.  On my birthday, Mother’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Day, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, and on the anniversary of my mom’s death and her birthday…all of these days I celebrate with great intentions, but am often left with this strange feeling of emptiness that I can’t explain.

Especially strange for someone who strives for love, gratitude, and fulfillment in the every day.

Then I realized maybe it is because I think there are expectations to feel a certain way on each of these special days. Whether it is happy, thankful, joyous, libatious (there is amazing internal guilt not celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as a Maguire!), loving, or sad, there is this informal pressure to be a certain way on a specific day, especially holidays.

I’ll admit, my feelings this Valentine’s Day probably had more to do with the fact that we were expecting our 4th week in a row with a foot of snow and my husband is out of town…for the 3rd/4th time. (Although, he is having a blast with our boys in New York City for the NBA All Star Weekend, so I am very happy for them, and it really helps to focus on that!)

lovewell-livewell.com, Valentin'es Day

Hi Nick…and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook & Marc Gasol!

But, my friend’s post and my “light bulb moment” helped me realize the pattern, the pressure, and the need for re-framing and letting go. It is amazing how our internalized feelings can completely control our day. And even more powerful, what happens if we realize and acknowledge these feelings in the first place!

I also figured after reading my friend’s FB post (thank you for your kindness and desire to lift people up, btw!!), that we are probably not alone.  Maybe not on Valentine’s Day, but maybe another holiday? Can anyone relate?

Either way, I am officially changing my tune on these special days. I am letting go of any expectations.

Only 1 out of my 4 kids brought Valentine’s cards to school, but that doesn’t make me a bad parent. I didn’t remember it was the anniversary of my mom’s death until I got a text from a friend, but that doesn’t mean I love or miss her any less. The 3 things on my son’s “thankful list” for Thanksgiving were Xbox, TV, and candy, but that doesn’t mean that I am doing a terrible job teaching him love and gratitude. My husband and I have spent more anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, including Valentine’s Day, apart than together because of his work, but that doesn’t mean the days aren’t special or our love is any less.

My list could go on, but I’ll stop. Do you want to add to the list?! :)

From this day on, I will continue to celebrate with great intentions, but I will remind myself that these special days are really just like any other day. If I do feel any sense of emptiness or guilt for not living up to the supposed holiday expectation, I will remind myself that it is o.k.  There is no pressure to be more loving, or more fun, or more thankful or happier today than any other day.

Just be you, love yourself, and enjoy the moment!

Lots of love (everyday, not just Valentine’s Day!),